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Water your plants generously; prepare for harvest time

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By Cheryl Steenerson

It’s a good thing man invented hoses. Otherwise, I think our gardens would be filled with dehydrated everything. This is the time of year when Mother Nature decides to take a little siesta from doing the watering for us.

If I ever win the lottery, I swear I’m going to have everything laser leveled and bermed so I can flood irrigate. It’s so much more efficient in time and effort. Our plants appreciate a good long drink way more than a few sips. Frequent light waterings lead to shallow roots.

As if we didn’ta have enough to do already in the garden, now we need to add bug control to our watering, weeding and harvesting. I’m knocking on wood here, but I haven’t had any bug issues in the vegetable garden this year. My flowers are a different matter.

Something is loving my hibiscus! I’ve got little holes all through my leaves. Every time I look, I can’t find a thing. Guess I’ll just break out the smelly onion and garlic spray and hope for the best. The Japanese beetles seemed to favor one climbing rose bush this year, but they’ve been light enough to just pick off and destroy.

Mid to late July is also the time to gather some free flowers, if you’ve got a shovel. You can dig and divide your iris and day lilies now. The more crowded they get, the less they bloom, so give them some space.

You can put them in buckets of soil and keep them moist on the porch, if you’d like to trade with friends. You may also find a few different varieties to try at the farmer’s market, but those won’t be free. If you’ve got friends or neighbors with varieties you’d like, now is the time to do a little bartering.

Even though I just planted my late tomatoes and beans, I did leave space for a few fall plants.

I’m picking up some broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage plants to fill in that space. As the weather cools, fall plants thrive and the bugs don’t seem so hungry. When harvest time does come around I can both eat fresh and freeze for winter.

I can’t believe I’m already talking about fall! I don’t like to even think of that “W” word. I have noticed sunset coming just a few minutes earlier. Instead of setting at 9:08 p.m., now it’s setting at 9 p.m. It’s just enough to help me remember to fully enjoy each and every day of summer!

Now get out there and take care of those lawns and gardens. Raise the mower blade and sharpen the pruners. Fill your baskets and heat up the kitchen. The harvest is on!

Happy Growing!